Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year, Everyone...

and Happy Birthday Emily, born on 1 January 1953
55 years later (March 2008) Emily holds her second, newborn Grandson!

On 1 January 1953, my house-lady, Emily, was the first baby to be born in the Eastern Free State. She arrived in this world in the local hospital weighing in at 7 lbs 8 oz / 3.4 kg; a beautiful little girl with brown eyes and wispy black curls. She was the last baby of five children to be born to her mother. He father passed away just prior to her birth, leaving her mother to raise her family alone.

Emily grew up in a Christian Sesotho home, and her mum did a very good job of single-parenting. I don't think Emily has any high school education; she can barely write or read, but she speaks English, Afrikaans and Sesotho fluently.

Mid-2002 my renovations and extension to my home had just been completed and I, sans house-help, was trying to remove the last of the tile-grout from the floors and windows. Emily arrived at my door and asked if I had work for her. I told her to come in, and the rest is history...
In February 2004, I flew up to Guinea, West Africa to visit my husband for three weeks. The general manager asked me to fill a position in the geology department as admin clerk; I subsequently stayed for three years! Although my younger son was single then and lived at home, it was Emily who cared for my eight cats and two dogs. She cleaned the house and did the washing and ironing. She supervised the gardener (I had one man before John and David, who are my trusty gardeners now) and fed him. Emily kept track of groceries, (mainly pet food) and household cleaner and would supply my son with a list of necessary items which he could then buy at the supermarket.

Emily has an amazing sense of integrity and responsibility. She is incredibly neat and tidy on her person and in her work. (My husband who fetches her from the township in the morning, says he can pick her out amongst the other ladies; by far the smartest lady of the working set!) Her own home is a dream, albeit mostly filled with appliances, ornaments and soft furnishings from my home when I refurbished!

My friends and family marvel that I lived many thousands of miles away in another country, yet Emily continued to manage my household beautifully for me in that time. When we came out on break every five months, the bedding was fresh and clean, the house was sparkling and the cupboards and fridges were well -stocked. When hubby and I go away on holiday now, Emily comes in to feed the animals. Arriving home after a long motorbike trip, we're always greeted with a cool, clean house and happy pets.

I have shown Emily this post while I type it: she loves the photos! Albertina who is literate has told her (in short) that it is a tribute to her; Emily has given me permission to post it!

While Emily is an employee of mine, she has become close family. When she goes on pension in four years' time, she will still be welcome in my home for a chat and a cup of tea at any time.

Ke a leboha Emily! (Thank you Emily)


  1. Hi Jo, a lovely tribute to your friend and housekeeper. You do appreciate her and all she does for you.You in turn treat her with respect and make her life easier.
    Best wishes to you and your family and i look forward to reading your blog in the coming months.

  2. Hi Peggy, thanks for your lovely comment. A blessed New Year to you and yours. Hugs Jo

  3. What a blessed find to have Emily as your friend and your helper :-) God has surely blessed you both.


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